NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Conviction Review Unit in Davidson County is taking a look at cases that may need to be overturned. Davidson County Assistant District Attorney Sunny Eaton joins Nickelle Smith by phone in the News 2 studio to discuss the work the unit has ahead of them.
The Conviction Review Unit has been in place for three years, and Eaton says there are a variety of ways the unit finds cases to overview.
“Sometimes they’re self-initiated, sometimes they’re what we call sentinel events where there’s something that comes up with an officer or a change in a law that makes us need to go back and look at cases, but usually these are applications that come into our office,” said Eaton.
Eaton says there is a lengthy review process the unit takes in each case before asking the court to vacate a conviction.
“We have several stages of review,” said Eaton, “A lot of cases get knocked out as ineligible in the very first stage because what we’re looking for is actual innocence. We’re not trying to get in the way of decisions juries have made unless there is what we call clear and convincing evidence giving us a reason to do so,” said Eaton.
Eaton says the unit’s work is so important because they’re simply fulfilling the mission of a modern district attorney’s office.
“Our mission is to do justice always. We’ve come to understand that does not just mean securing convictions that’s not our duty,” said Eaton, “Our duty is to get it right.”
To learn more about the Conviction Review Unit watch the entire interview above.